I found Badra shivering on the floor of the hallway. Rasmus lay there too. At first I thought he was dead; in fact I was sure of it. His aura was almost non-existent. Badra looked up. Her eyes were full with tears.
'What happened?' I asked. 'Did Helios hurt you? What did he do? I'll kill him if he's done so much as touch a hair on your head!' I couldn't explain it, but I felt unusually protective towards Badra. Maybe it was simply her size, or her sense of vulnerability. All I knew was that right now, Helios was the bad guy. Until Badra spoke.
'No! Helios didn't do this to Rasmus at all. There was a man in a top hat. He said something to Rasmus, and next thing I knew he was stone cold on the floor.... Helios found him and blamed me, but he's gone now.'
'I knew that fox had something to do with this!' I snarled, then remembering that the guy I loved was lying there too, said 'Quick, Badra, is Rasmus still alive? Does he have a pulse?'
Badra checked his wrist. 'Yes, he's alive; but his pulse is very weak. Too weak for a human to sense, anyway.'
I paced the floor. 'What are we going to do now? We can't exactly take him to hospital and say, "Well, a man whispered something into my boy- hmm! friend's ear and now he's at death's door" can we?'
Badra stopped crying. She had her thinking face on. This was when she screwed up her face and her brow furrowed so that she looked like a pixie. She said 'I've heard about this sort of thing before. Luna told me. It's a spell that almost instantly puts the victim in a deep sleep, almost like a coma. It's very powerful magic.'
'But who could do that here? At our school?'
'That's what worries me. Remember what the prophecy said about the lines between fact and legend merging? The only explanation I can come up with is that they are doing so a lot faster than any of us anticipated. The creatures of myth are seeping into the real world.'
'But we can't defeat them without the foxes! Of course! It all makes sense now. This man in the top hat, whoever he was, was obviously trying to stop Rasmus from learning everything about his true identity. But what if Rasmus never wakes up? How will we restore the boundaries then?'
'Stop worrying. He'll be fine, as long as we get him to Luna's house quickly. She knows how to reverse the effects. That reminds me, weren't we supposed to meet her, like, now?'
I suddenly realised. During our free period we could go to Luna's house and sort this out. But this would only be a temporary measure. The man in the top hat was trying to get to us, before we could attack. As much as we might hate him, Helios really needed our help finding his pack. So far he only had two, and one of these happened to be lying on the floor, unconscious. Badra and I picked Rasmus up, careful not to do anything that would cause him any lasting damage, and set off to find Luna.